After completing the 1,800 feet of descent across the two-and-a-half-mile trek back from the subdome to the John Muir Trail, we began our 3.6-mile journey to Cloud’s Rest.
This summit would not require the assist of cables, but did take us to a bit of a higher perspective, topping out at 9,926 feet.
We had another 2,700 feet of gain to make in the second half of our day.
As we switchbacked our way up the mountain, we found ourselves pacing off with other intrepid hikers. Some had hiked from the valley and were trying to make it as far as they could with their stores of energy and the lasting daylight, others carried packs with plans to make it past Cloud’s Rest and find a good spot to sleep amongst the stars.
People from various backgrounds with their assortment of reasons to push the limits and ascend to the high reaches of Yosemite’s domes converged on this trail to sit amongst the clouds.
With waning energy, we finally found ourselves climbing the stone-carved stairs to the the crest of our second summit.
Perched above the clouds, we sat and rested our weary legs, looking out across the valley and taking in the view of our first summit. We looked on at the many hikers making their heady ascent of Half Dome’s summit.
Content, we made our descent as the sun began to make its own, winding the trails that led back to our backpacker’s rest.
We soaked our feet in the cold river waters as we refilled our reserves and made a well-deserved camp meal.
When the stars made their brilliant return to dark night skies of California’s wilderness, we found our way back to the warmth of the fire to share in everyone’s triumphs.
“The echoes of beauty you’ve seen transpire, resound through dying coals of a campfire.”